River Centre continues search for retailers

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Shane Dillon of Hillham drives the Sky Trak next to the River Centre in Jasper on Monday. The building is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — It won’t be long before the first businesses open shop in Jasper’s new River Centre development. But as their launches draw near, a large chunk of the highly-touted, mixed-use space’s retail area remains up for grabs.

Three of the four businesses that were originally slated to set up shop at the River Centre are still on track to move into the burgeoning building in the coming months. A financial brokerage company has been hired to assist with finding potential establishments to fill the remaining, roughly 22,000 square feet of raw retail space.

And though it may seem like things have been slow-moving, Tyler Raben of Summit Real Estate Services in Evansville is confident the storefronts will be filled.

“When you get into the commercial world and new construction, everything just takes time,” Raben said. “It can for sure be frustrating sometimes, but I think we’re moving along in the right steps, and everything’s there and ready to go.”

He continued: “We’re set up for, if we have a restaurant or a new retailer come in, we’ll be able to really knock out the construction period pretty quick and get them up and running.”

Those businesses will be housed on the first floor of the structure, which aims to become an activity hub in Dubois County. Residential tenants will live above them in a variety of floorplans on the two upper levels.

Krempp Construction employee Johnny Jones of French Lick looks towards the Patoka River from a room inside the River Centre in Jasper on Monday. The building is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

St. Benedict’s Brew Works, FitFuel Nutrition + Fitness + Cryotherapy and Fueled Strength Meals are all on track to call the new development their home. Vince Luecke, St. Benedict’s owner, said he has been told his business’ space will be ready by the end of March.

The roughly 2,000-square-foot taproom — which will serve beer and food — will have a soft opening in the early summer and a grand opening during Strassenfest, which takes place during the weekend of July 30 to Aug. 2.

Already based in Jasper, the FitFuel gym will move from its current location on Third Avenue to a 6,000-square-foot section of the River Centre at an undetermined date. Fueled Strength Meals, a healthy, local food service, will feature a pickup refrigerator at the 24-hour access gym.

A business that was at one point on board to begin operating at the River Centre will not make the move. Joelle + Co, a women’s clothing store in Newburgh that formerly had a location on Main Street in Huntingburg, no longer has plans to come to the development.

That announcement was made in an early December Facebook post penned by owner Sara Durcholz.

“We’ve been working on negotiating with the River Centre and after several discussions over the past few months, we have not been able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement,” Durcholz wrote. “My gut told me it was time to walk away, and if there was one thing I’ve learned through everything the past 8 years, it was to trust my gut — so last week, I made the difficult decision to not move forward with our space at the River Centre.”

Adam Boyd of Petersburg installs a deadbolt on a door inside the River Centre in Jasper on Monday.

Raben, who has worked with the River Centre for about a month, said the remaining spaces are attractive. He noted that the development’s team has made the right moves to make moving in a smooth transition for businesses, and he also said its leasing rates are reasonable. He doesn’t think the prices would scare away any retailer or tenant — whether they are regionally- or locally-based.

“It’s such an exciting development, and it’s so exciting for Jasper that when I talk to tenants or business owners, it’s not too hard to get them over there to take a trip,” Raben said. “I’ve already had, in the last couple weeks, a couple restaurant owners from Evansville and [those] who own businesses in Jasper as well, that were happy to take a tour and take a look.”

In addition to restaurants, a salon, barber shop, coffee shop and upscale convenience store are all types of establishments that Raben believes would be good fits for the River Centre. He estimated that between six and 10 total businesses could occupy the retail space.

Leslie Tegmeyer, who is the property manager at Boxer Girl LLC, the River Centre’s developer, said that though the exact move-in date for the living spaces is to-be-determined, residents will be able to move into them within the next couple months.

Offerings include studio apartments starting at $535 a month, one-bedroom apartments starting at $900 and two-bedrooms ranging from $1,465 to $2,200.

To date, tenants have spoken for 27 of the 76 available apartments. Tegmeyer explained that much curiosity has been expressed in the residential side of the development.

“I feel like we will be [at] capacity for the apartments with no problem,” Tegmeyer said. “We’ve had that much interest.”




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